A Mile in Her Shoes- Work at Home Mom: Expectations and Delegation

Carrying an overflowing laundry basket, I stomped to the laundry room.  “I can’t believe how much laundry these people dirty in a week.” I punctuated each syllable with a “Stomp. Stomp.  Stomp.” I bent to open the washing machine door and was met by the unpleasant mustiness that is laundry left too long before drying. “UGH.” It was 8:15 am and I was already behind.  I wanted to start working by 9:00.

“Didn’t I tell you guys to switch the laundry from washer to dryer last night?” I yelled to (maybe at) my older sons. They kept quiet.  They knew the truth: I wasn’t asking to get an answer. I was asking to get a confession. After which, there would be no plea-bargaining, only sentencing. I was Mom, prosecutor, judge and jury.  The verdict was already in: my family is guilty. Of what?  Not helping. (At least not helping enough.) The first to admit guilt would be the first to be judged. I didn’t blame them for silently pleading the fifth amendment.

I refilled the laundry detergent dispenser and added a few splashing tears along with more fabric softener. I closed the drawer and tried to remember how many times I’d already run it through. ” 3, 4?  Maybe ?” I wondered.  Honestly?  I had no idea. I felt frustrated – but  I wasn’t impressed. (My personal best for rewashing a laundry load is set at 6.  it was an entire week of washing the same load of laundry before actually getting it clean, dried  and put away. I was busy!)

I stomped downstairs to the kitchen and found the sink full of dishes. “Where did these come from? I just did the dishes!” I’m not sure who I was asking, or why… I already knew the answer:  They came from everywhere and nowhere. I opened the already running dishwasher and blindly stuffed them in.  I didn’t even care if they got clean, I just didn’t want to see them in the sink.

It was now, 9:00 am and I was already angry, frustrated and overwhelmed.  With no one admitting guilt, I turned my inner judge and jury loose on my self.

“I can’t do it all.”  I whispered in admission to myself.

My verdict?  

I am a failure:  as a mom, woman, wife and writer.

It isn’t just the laundry and dishes. It is everything.  Vacuuming, pet care, homework, bill paying, writing time, income tax, paperwork, quiet time, driving time, grocery shopping, pantry cleaning, bathing, picking up, putting away, cat box cleaning, cooking and husband time and family time.  Forget about dusting and scrubbing floors,  those aren’t even on the radar.

Sex?  Well, that is a pleasant memory.  However, unless it’s pencilled in on the calendar- there isn’t time (or energy) for IT. And  really, if you want to freak your teens out?   Put that on the calendar. They will never  look at the family calendar again, and will  [mot likely] run screaming from the house. (Don’t panic, they will come home when they are hungry or out of money… They know you’ve done IT, they just don’t like to think about it in the present tense.)

This is not how I’d expected things to be. I remember thinking: “It’s the best of both worlds. I can be working and at home- at the same time! I can do it all!”

Now, I am wondering: “What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I do it all?”

I’m not sure where the expectation to be able to do it all came from. I just know I was. And, I think others expect it from me too.

I hadn’t gone into this project without planning.

We’d sat down as a family and discussed this decision.  Everyone had been on board.  Everyone had committed to helping out.  For the most part, they had even followed through. Stuff happens. my husband travels, and well-it wasn’t enough.

I have to let some things go. The problem is, letting things go, feels like playing “jenga” with my life.   I feel like everything will topple.

So far?  The only thing to topple, is me.  It doesn’t  happen when I am letting something go.  It always happens when I add something else.  This week?  I added a sleepover party, my husband traveling and the kids were all home on Mid-winter break.  I had not let anything go to compensate. I kept the same writing goals, I had the same house-work demands.

I toppled in the laundry room.

Work From Home moms:

  • What are things you’ve had to delegate?
  • What are things you’ve had to let go of?
  • What has surprised you as overwhelming about working from home?
  • What expectations have you found unrealistic, yours or others?

2 thoughts on “A Mile in Her Shoes- Work at Home Mom: Expectations and Delegation

  1. Thank you. I really appreciate the story about laundry & blame. I’ve so been there before, washing the same load over, holding up unrealistic expectations for myself.
    Keep on Keeping on Mom!

  2. As Mum of 5 kids, I really appreciated this post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only mum who has these moments.

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